GIG REVIEWS: AmericanaramA - Richard Thompson Trio II
7/9/2013 (updated 7/12/2013)

Richard Thompson Electric Trio Special Guest on
AmericanaramA Festival of Music featuring Bob Dylan & His Band

Additional AMERICANARAMA Reviews


Eddie Fitz Wilco Sparhawk
July 9 Duluth MN - Bayfront Festival Park

Wilco, My Morning Jacket mix it up in Duluth
Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune

Bob’s grade-A openers on the Americanarama tour have been mixing it up. Wilco especially gave Duluthians and other Northland music lovers something special. After a spin through some of their earliest tunes the Chicago rockers brought out Richard Thompson. Jaws dropped as he and Wilco wiz Nels Cline played off each other on guitar for a couple minutes like two teenagers excitedly making out in "Sloth," a song by Thompson’s old band Fairport Convention.

Those gaping mouths then turned to broad smiles as Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy invited out Duluth's own Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low to perform what Tweedy called "the most important song ever." With Thompson still aboard, they set sail through Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," an epic as intertwined with Duluth culture as Lift Bridge postcards and parking breaks - and as wordy and challenging as "War and Peace." Sparhawk and Parker pulled it off with the help of lyric sheets, one of which Sparhawk tore up and ate at the end of the performance in a colorful display of triumph.


"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"
Paul Lundgren, Perfect Duluth Day

And then there was the time Wilco brought out Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Richard Thompson for a rendition of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". That was something.


Duluth native returns to lead all-star lineup for Bayfront concert
Tony Bennett, Duluth News Tribune

Each one of the evening's acts was a treat. Richard Thompson started the night off, and the cult songwriter and guitarist - who is actually not an American, and in fact holds an Order of the British Empire that Queen Elizabeth herself awarded him for his luminous music career - played a short, five-song set that served as an appetizer for the evening's feast. Thompson and his power trio zipped through a brief set, but the guitarist had the growing crowd mesmerized with his slippery Stratocaster mastery. "Sally B" recalled the prog-blues of The Groundhogs more than the acoustic folk Thompson is usually associated with. "Not bad for old people." Thompson joked, at one point.


Dylan's stage presence unrivaled Festival tour with My Morning Jacket, Wilco entertains at Riverbend
Garin Pirnia,

Wilco stuck to their Americana roots and began with "Either Way" that contained the apropos line "Maybe the sun will shine today" - by the end of their set, the sun did peak out. The band performed two Woody Guthrie covers (a Dylan influence) including "When the Roses Bloom Again" and the excellent "California Stars", with Thompson helping out on vocals and guitar.

The five-hour show started with former Fairport Convention lead singer Richard Thompson performing a few songs from this year's Electric album - the only artist on the bill who has a brand-new album to promote. Just like the bands who'd follow him, Thompson stretched out his songs, broadening them into long jam sessions filled with electric guitar riffs. Thompson had the shortest set of the night but he reappeared later and played a couple of songs with Wilco.


Bob Dylan's AmericanaramA in Cincinnati, plus Robillard's upcoming yard sale
Harold Lepidus, Examiner

For the second show in a row, Richard Thompson joined WILCO for two songs, "Slouth" (sic) and "California Stars."


In Performance: AmericanaramA Festival
Walter Tunis, The Musical Box

A steady rain greeted patrons when Americanrama got underway 15 minutes ahead of the announced start time (meaning Richard Thompson fans, even the punctual ones, missed half of his opening set). Thompson’s set - brief and schedule-challenged as it was - was still a dandy. It consisted of three songs from his new Electric album that efficiently underscored his narrative strengths as a songwriter and two oldies – Tear Stained Letter and You Can’t Win - that let Thompson the guitar demon loose. Merry, but remarkably unflashy instrumental fireworks ensued. The killer moment, though, came when Thompson sat in with Wilco to resurrect his 1970 Fairport Convention jam Sloth and engage in some deliciously ferocious guitar sparring with Cline. That’s when AmericanaramA hit the jackpot.